Tornado-Ravaged Candle Factory Will Not Reopen

Some workers will be shifted to a nearby plant; others face layoffs.

On the night of Dec. 10, a candle plant in Mayfield, Kentucky, was demolished by a tornado that reduced it and much of the surrounding area to rubble.

The aftermath was horrific, and nine people at the Mayfield Consumer Products plant lost their lives.

And for the surviving workers, things are just getting worse. As if enduring such a shocking ordeal wasn't enough, the plant’s employees recently learned that the company is planning to permanently shutter the plant — and some layoffs are coming along with it.

According to a report from NBC News, Mayfield filed a WARN notice indicating that it plans to relocate certain members of its workforce to a plant in the nearby town of Hickory, but, “although many employees are being offered a transfer … there will not be room for the entire population.”

Plant manager Michael Staten reportedly stated in the notice that, "Those employees not offered a transfer to the new facility will be laid off," and that all layoffs in Mayfield are expected to be permanent.

In a response that may spark some confusion, a company spokesperson later told the Louisville Courier Journal, after it first broke the news of the layoffs, that the company is "committed to the rehiring of everyone and to meeting or exceeding the employment levels it had prior to the tornado.”

Whether or not all of the workers retain their jobs in the transfer remains to be seen, but either way, the drama doesn’t end there. Multiple employees put the company on blast following the tornado, claiming that plant managers told workers who asked to leave that they would be fired if they did so.

The company has denied these allegations, but more is certain to come out in the future; Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear revealed that the company’s actions during the deadly natural disaster would be investigated.

Mayfield Consumer Products is also facing a lawsuit filed by several workers, whose attorneys claim to have evidence that the plant’s workers were told they were not allowed to leave as the storms approached.

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